April 2023 Ask a Physicist: Are plants intelligent?

Ask a Physicist

  April 24th, 2023


  Zoom Webinar

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Join us for a monthly webinar series, ASK A PHYSICIST, with renowned physicists Paul Davies, Sara Walker and Maulik Parikh from the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at Arizona State University. Each webinar will address a big question in physics and the audience can submit questions ahead of time or during the webinar to add to the discussion! This month, Paul Davies and Sara Walker will be joined by guest presenter George Bassel, a professor at the University of Warwick.

April's webinar: "Are plants intelligent?"

There has been increasing interest in the ability of plants to monitor their surroundings, communicate within and between species, and respond in optimal ways. This is sometimes described as plant intelligence or even plant cognition. But are these epithets a case of us anthropomorphizing, or do plants really acquire and process information in a manner similar to animals? If so, how and where is the information processed and does it constitute computation in the Turing sense? How can studying plants bring into focus more general issues associated with understanding the role of computation in living matter?